People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

David McLelland (1881–1968)

This article was published:

David McLelland (1881-1968) blacksmith, trade union official and politician

Birth: 12 August 1881, Irvine, Ayrshire Scotland, son of Alexander McLelland (1855-1933), coachman, and Helen, née McDonald (1858-1908). Marriage: 1903 at Paisley, Scotland to Mary Shaw (1878-1965). They had two daughters and one son. Death: 8 September 1968 in a convalescent hospital, Drummoyne, Sydney, New South Wales; usual residence Byrne Avenue, Five Dock, Sydney. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Educated at primary school, Scotland, and lived at Paisley where he was an apprenticed blacksmith in 1901.
  • Arrived at Brisbane, Queensland, aboard the Durham on 1 September 1911. Worked as a blacksmith at Ipswich Railway Workshops.
  • Moved to Sydney in 1916. Employed as a blacksmith at Cockatoo Island and Mort’s Dock.
  • Organised Blacksmiths Society after the big tramway strike of 1912. General secretary of the Blacksmiths Society from 1918 to 1930 and 1939 to 1944. After defeat undertook correspondence course in accountancy.
  • Member of the central executive of the Australian Labor Party in 1920-1923, 1924-1926.
  • Contested seat of Drummoyne in 1927. Elected Labor member of the Legislative Assembly for Drummoyne on 25 October 1930. Was defeated on 18 May 1932.
  • Secretary of the Australian Institute of Political Science until 1939. Secretary of the Metal Trades Federation of Australia from 1945 until he retired in 1961.
  • Board of management member of Drummoyne Presbyterian church.
  • Wife was praised for “fine work on behalf of charitable and social activities” in the Drummoyne district.
  • Cause of death: senile arteriosclerosis.

Labor Daily
(Sydney), 13 January 1927; Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton (eds), Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979).

Additional Resources

  • short profile, Labor Daily (Sydney), 13 January 1927, p 8
  • photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 1932, p 12

Citation details

'McLelland, David (1881–1968)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

David McLelland, 1932

David McLelland, 1932

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 1932, p 12

Life Summary [details]


12 August, 1881
Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland


8 September, 1968 (aged 87)
Drummoyne, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations
Political Activism